Having just returned from a weeklong trip to Cairo, I am happy to report that the Cairo education pilot project is off to an exciting start! As one of the newest wings of the Wikipedia Education Program, the Cairo Pilot aims to increase the quality and quantity of the Arabic Wikipedia by working with university professors who incorporate Wikipedia-editing into their classes. As described in my earlier blog post, to keep this pilot small we are involving only the top 5-15 students from a small number of classes this term (see the detailed Cairo Pilot program plan).
The academic term began last month, and already the participating classes are showing great enthusiasm and promise. After participating in a faculty workshop in January — where the Cairo professors learned more about how Wikipedia works and tips around designing Wikipedia assignments from local Wikipedians and a Wikipedia Education Program faculty veteran (Rochelle Davis of Georgetown University) — the participating faculty members have incorporated innovative Wikipedia projects into their respective classes. For example, in Professor Hany Hosseiny’s mathematics class at Cairo University, students will do extensive research and write Arabic articles about famous mathematicians and mathematical concepts. Most of the students in the Cairo Pilot will do the majority of on-wiki editing in April and May, although Professor El-Toukhy’s postgraduate French students at Ain Shams University have already begun translating entire Wikipedia articles from French to Arabic (they plan to finish translating the entire 12-page-long article Civil Disobedience within the next ten days, after which they’ll move on to translating at least three other long articles). It is also worth mentioning that the vast majority of students in the pilot are women.
The Wikipedia Ambassadors in Cairo have been doing a great job explaining Wikipedia policies and editing skills to students, and the participating professors and students are very excited to play such a big role in growing Arabic free knowledge.
-Annie Lin (آني/سمر)
Wikipedia Education Program Manager